Obama: Human Rights In The AM, State Secrets & FBI Raids In The PM

During the Vietnam war, the saying which illustrated the best the schizophrenic aspect of the US involvement there was “Candy in the morning, napalm in the afternoon”.  Decades later, the US administration is still displaying the very same sign of this disturbing behavior where one hand takes away what the other hand has given. The twisted logic of this insanity is playing out right now in Pakistan. On one hand the US is making helicopters available for desperately needed food supply drops for flood victims, on the other hand drone attacks are conducted in the very same areas on almost a daily base. If Vietnam was perfectly defined by “Candy in the morning, napalm in the afternoon”, President Obama’s war in Pakistan could be portrayed as “Food drops in the morning, drone attacks in the afternoon”.

Last week, President Obama delivered the second speech of his presidency at the United Nations annual assembly. He did not received as much cheers as the first time around, as the international delegates are starting to understand the deep dichotomy between the words of the president and his actions.

At The UN, Obama Paints The US as a Benevolent  Super-Power  Concerned By Human Rights

“America has also embraced unique responsibilities that come with our power. Since the rains came and the flood-waters rose in Pakistan, we have pledged our assistance, and we should all support the Pakistani people as they recover and rebuild. And when the earth shook and Haiti was devastated by loss, we joined a coalition of nations in response. Today, we honor those from the UN family who lost their lives in the earthquake, and commit ourselves to stand with the people of Haiti until they can stand on their own feet. Amidst this upheaval, we have been persistent in our pursuit of peace,” said President Obama.

Again, the “achievements” of the Obama administration explained above are merely fictional. The help given to Pakistan floods victims by the US and the international community has been not only slow coming but completely anemic. And this is in contrast to the “robust” not-so-secret war that the Obama administration is now fighting in Pakistan. As far as the situation in Haiti, more than 8 months after the earthquake, millions are still living under mildewy tents, and no significant progress has been made to rebuild.

Further along in his speech, President Obama tried to answer his very own question: ” What is the world that awaits us when today’s battles are brought to an end?”. Of course, this is purely rhetorical, because the policies of the current administration, just like the ones of its predecessors for decades, foster and breed a state of permanent war.

“One of the first actions of this General Assembly was to adopt a Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. That declaration begins by stating that, “recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.

Human rights have never gone unchallenged- not in any of our nations, and not in our world. Tyranny is still with us- whether it manifests itself in the Taliban killing girls who try to go to school, a North Korea regime that enslaves its own people, or armed groups in Congo that use rape as a weapon of war.

In times of economic unease, there can also be an anxiety about human rights. Today, as in past times of economic downturn, some put human rights aside for the promise of short term stability, or the false notion that economic growth can come at the expense of freedom. We see leaders abolishing term limits, crackdown on civil society and corruption smothering entrepreneurship and good governance. We see democratic reforms deferred indefinitely,” said President Obama in his UN address.

Obama’s Assassination Program As State Secrets Privilege

The most recent case concerns a lawsuit filed by Anwar Awlaki’s father asking a US federal court to enjoin the president from assassinating his son, a US citizen, without any due process. In his article published yesterday, Glenn Greenwald was rightly outraged.

“At this point, I didn’t believe it was possible, but the Obama administration has just reached an all-new low in its abysmal civil liberties record,” wrote Greenwald.

Greenwald was referring to a brief filed late Friday by the Obama administration. The brief asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit without the possibility of hearing the merit of the claims by invoking “State Secrets Privilege”.

“That is not surprising: both the Bush and the Obama administrations have repeatedly insisted that their secret conduct is legal, but nonetheless urge courts not to even rule on its legality. But what is most notable here is that one of the arguments the Obama DOJ raises to demand dismissal of this lawsuit is ‘State Secrets’: In other word, not only does the President have the right to sentence Americans to death with no due process or charges of any kind, but his decision as to who will be killed and why he wants them dead are state secrets, and thus no court may adjudicate their legality,” wrote Greenwald in his article.

The first paragraph of the Obama administration legal brief arguing the dismissal of the case says:

“Defendants Barack H. Obama, President of the United States, Leon E. Panetta, Director of the CIA, and Robert M. Gates, Secretary of Defense, hereby move to dismiss Plaintiff’s complaint, pursuant to Federal rule of Civil Procedure, an the grounds that Plaintiff lacks standing and that his claims require the Court to decide non-justiciable political questions. Alternatively, the court should exercise its equitable discretion not to grant the relief sought. In addition, Plaintiff has no cause of action under the Alien Tort Statute. To the extent that the foregoing are not sufficient grounds to dismiss this lawsuit, Plaintiff’s action should be dismissed on the ground that information properly protected by the military and state secrets privilege would be necessary to litigate this action.”

FBI Raids Against Anti-War Activists: The US as a Police State ?

On Friday, the FBI confirmed that they began a number of raids against the homes of antiwar activists in several states, on the ground that they are ” Seeking evidence relating to activities concerning the material support of terrorism”.

Raids were conducted in Minneapolis, Chicago, the state of Michigan and the state of North Carolina. In Minneapolis many of the homes targeted were related to the Marxist group “Freedom Road Socialist Organization“.

One of the loudest voices speaking out and denouncing this crackdown on dissent by the Obama administration belongs to Paul Craig Roberts. Two days ago, Roberts came out swinging in his Oped piece: “It is Official: The US Is A Police State”. Referring of course to the FBI raids, and to what he views as practices from a police state, Roberts wrote.

“Now we know what Homeland Security (sic) Secretary Napolitano meant when she said on September 10: “The old view that, if you fight the terrorists abroad, we won’t have to fight them here is just that; the old view. The new view, Napolitano said, is “to counter violent extremism right here at home”. ‘Violent Extremism’ is one of those undefined police state terms that will mean whatever the government wants it to mean,” wrote Roberts in his article.

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